As part of the MAVA Foundation strategy in the Mediterranean region on coastal wetlands, MedWet with its eleven international partners have officially launched its new project named “a communication campaign on coastal wetlands” during its kick-off meeting in Bizerte, Tunisia, from 27th to 29th September 2017.
This project will launch a comprehensive Communication Campaign about raising awareness of the value of coastal wetlands and influencing key regional and national policy processes about the need to preserve and restore coastal wetlands in the Mediterranean.
The campaign will aim to improve knowledge about the functions and values of these important Mediterranean wetland types as well as the benefits of an integrated land/sea interface management, backed up by the work delivered across the pilot sites, namely in Albania, Italy, Montenegro, Tunisia and the Mediterranean Islands. By scaling up the visibility of the results and using scientifically grounded arguments, the campaign should convince decision-makers, and stakeholders around demonstration sites, about the need to protect and manage these habitats in a sustainable way.
The campaign coordinated by the MedWet Initiative is really at the core of its mission and is intended to provide for the Mediterranean wetlands community a real opportunity to experience and learn how to jointly demonstrate the catalyst role of bringing together several governmental and non-governmental stakeholders in the region.
In this initiative, MedWet is joined by an impressive list of eleven partners: BirdLife, DiversEarth, GWP Med, IUCN Med, MedINA, MedPAN, PAP/RAC and Plan Bleu (UNEP/MAP), Tour du Valat and the Mediterranean Wetlands Observatory, Wetlands International, and WWF, organizations which will work closely and effectively together in promoting the Mediterranean coastal wetlands. Each partner will also play a pivotal role in delivering on specific activities that will build on each partner’s strength, network and experience while ensuring coherence within the overall campaign.
The workshop was introduced by the MAVA Foundation, which recalled that the Foundation’s strategic aim is to address the key threats of coastal wetlands due to coastal development and water abstraction and to emphasize the importance of promoting the restoration and preservation of the wetlands. This campaign is a key part of this strategy as it addresses raising awareness and policy advocacy which are important elements in scaling up the demonstration sites projects in the strategy.
The partners had the opportunity to participate in the MAVA Steering Group meeting the day before to understand all of the demonstration sites’ projects. The project managers have presented their projects, such as UIcinj Salina (Montenegro), Ghar El Melah (Tunisia), Buna Delta in Albania and Montenegro, Oristano (Italy) and the Mediterranean Island wetlands project « MedIsWet » as a replication project from the successes of the Greek project (read our previous article here).
The two-day workshop was devoted to building a common understanding of the projects’ values, defining a common goal and understanding of the vision of this campaign, and defining the targeted audiences, as well as organising the governance between the partners and starting to plan carefully the steps of organising such a campaign.
Several conference skype meetings will be organised between the partners to define a common strategy for the campaign, including communications and advocacy activities that will be build upon the experience and skills of each of the partners gathered together to raise awareness on these beautiful ecosystems: the wetlands.
Field visit to the Ramsar Site of Ghar el Melh Lagoon
As part of the celebration of the tenth edition of the “Mediterranean Coast Day” (see our specific article here), the representatives of the project partners participated in a specific local Coast Day organised by WWF North Africa in partnership with the Priority Actions Programme Regional Activity Centre (PAP/RAC – UNEP/MAP) in the demonstration site of Ghar el Melh on the 26th of September.
The event was presented under the theme “Coastal zones of the Mediterranean are facing climate change” and intended to highlight the role of traditional cultural practices and raising awareness with local populations, particularly the youth.
The programme of Mediterranean Coast Day in Ghar El Melh is available here.
PAP/RAC and WWF North Africa organised the event in cooperation with the Tunisian Coastal Agency (APAL), under the auspices of the Governor of the Bizerte Region. The major stakeholders of the area gathered and shared their vision of and expectations from the sustainable development of the area. In addition, the local inhabitants and NGOs joined the debates, including the local fishermen and urban planners. This event was a great and live illustration of what the Coast Day was all about for the MAVA partners, who will have the opportunity to organise such events in the coming years. At the same time, it was a good starting point for the MedWet overarching communication campaign.
Indeed, after the institutional presentations and the discussions, the partners visited the wetland centre of Ghar El Melh, located in the fort dating back to Ottoman times and now under UNESCO’s protection. Welcomed by the pupils of one of the local schools, the partners had a chance to discover the local handcrafting. The kids were one of the key attractions (see the video here), and the 1st channel of the National Tunisian TV, which followed the entire event, did not miss a part in the actions they undertook that day, especially the cleaning activities in the old harbour of the city. Also, a field trip around the project area was organized for the MAVA partners.”
Source: PAP/RAC website, www.pap-thecoastcentre.org/
Watch the video made by Tunisian TV on the cleaning activities with the kids:
Watch the video made by WWF North Africa in Ghar el Melh: https://web.facebook.com/WWFTunisie/videos/1362743930505887/
Read our previous article on inauguration of the Ghar el Melah wetlands centre:
SEE HERE the Photo album of the meeting